One of the products I’ve been meaning to test for some time was the ZaggFolio, a product I’ve been talking about since it first launched for the iPad 2. This keyboard received an update which works perfectly with the Apple iPad 3, the new one, so if you’ve bought one last year you’ll need to upgrade your case too since the thicker iPad 3 won’t fit in the old model (as a mention the iPad 2 will fit loose in the new case). As before you can still buy just the keyboard (~$70) or just the case (~$30), but the full experience will cost you 100 bucks [product page link].
Before we start looking at one of the most promising iPad 3 keyboard cases I have to remind you of two of our articles, the one with keyboard cases for Apple’s third gen tablet and the other one with Zagg’s offer of accessories for the new iPad. Now that I got these thing off my chest let’s get going with the Zaggfolio, kindly sent to me for review by Zagg. The first thing we’re going to talk about is…
Design & Construction
Let’s see why I’ve always said this is one of the best keyboards for the iPad: it’s very versatile, unlike the rubber non-detachable bulky models (like the SHARKK we’ve tested) or the keyboard-only aluminium models (like this other SHARKK). Both examples I gave you are considerably less expensive than ZaggFolio, but you always have to pay for features and quality. So what do you get with the ZaggFolio?
The model I’ve got is a carbon-fibre looking case with detachable keyboard, all-black. You can opt for other finishes of the case: Brown/Black/Alligator Leather, Starhive Dark Blue/Purple, Metallic Red, Smart Green/Pink/Orange, and Black, White or Black+White keyboard. As I’ve said before you can buy them separately, to better distribute the burden on your wallet, but it doesn’t make much sense functionally, since the case will be just as bulky with or without the keyboard. The weight is the only difference.
Both the iPad and the detachable keyboard are inserted by sliding them in and the holding frame is pretty tight. The keyboard is relatively easy to take out, but the new iPad fits very tight and you need more than a few seconds to take it apart. The back case, the one that protects the aluminium body of the ipad folds in two so you can mount the tablet inside a generous groove on the keyboard base. This is how the ZaggFolio transforms into a stand. Unfortunately there’s no way to adjust the inclination angle, but the good news it that Zagg chose the right angle. All ports and buttons are accessible with the iPad fitted in, and the openings are large, precisely cut and do look very good (see attached pictures).
The most important element of the ZaggFolio is the chiclet keyboard. I was expecting an aluminium body, but it’s made entirely from plastic; anyway the feeling you get when working with it is very good. iOS specific keys will help you control the iPad without needing to touch it, but since not all actions are mapped to specific keys you’ll need to tap the screen from time to time. The keys have excellent feedback (for such a slim keyboard) and are pretty quiet. I also like the sturdiness of the whole thing, as the frame is very solid and there’s no ‘sinking’ effect while typing.
On the top right corner there is an On/Off switch and a Connect button, both accompanied by two status LEDs. Pairing is very easy: turn the keyboard and iPad’s Bluetooth connection on, hit Connect and select the ZaggFolio from the list of available devices. Lastly type the code shown on the iPad’s screen and hit Enter. That’s it, couldn’t be easier. As for the typing experience, you’ll have to adjust to the small 10 inch form factor, something that doesn’t fit particularly well with my big fat thumbs.
The keyboard recharges via a supplied micro-USB cable. The autonomy, as measured by Zagg, reaches several months of normal use, so you’ll definitely forget that cable in a drawer somewhere.
I hope my article gave you a better idea of what to expect from ZaggFolio, definitely one of the best new iPad 3 keyboards. Of course there’s a price to pay for it, but considering what you’re getting I think this is a good investment. The keyboard quality and strong build makes this a sure winner. Now take a look at the video review I’ve shot for you hoping to complete the picture: